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Earned Day

So, weigh-in day was Sunday. After my first two weeks on the Meltdown Boot Camp, I lost 7.4 pounds and 2.5 inches off my stomach!!

WOW 🙂  That’s over 3 and a half pounds a week. My average is usually about a half pound a week. I am VERY pleased with this!

After weigh-in, it was ‘cheat day’, as everyone in the program calls it. It’s what it sounds like…you can eat anything you want all day.  I was talking about it with my husband and he made a very astute observation–calling it a “cheat day” makes it sound like something bad and is not really truthful. Since you’re allowed to have anything you want, you’re not really cheating.  He suggested calling it my “Earned Day”, since I earned a break after being so strict for 2 weeks.  I like it! So, I will call it my “Earned Day” from now on. 🙂

I started my Earned Day at Starbucks with a full-fat, full-sugar latte and slice of a baked good. Then, we went to a local restaurant that had a Sunday Brunch. I wasn’t expecting it, but the buffet included items that were less-bad than I expected–they had only turkey bacon instead of the real stuff; their gravy for biscuits and gravy was NOT sausage based, and there was a lot of fresh fruit.  I found that my stomach has shrunk because I had only one plate, whereas in the past I usually made multiple trips to buffets. I also kept to my 3-bite rule* that I practice at buffets when I don’t want to over eat, even though this time I didn’t care if I overate. But, since I wanted to try so many different things, and I felt myself getting full, I figured that was the best strategy to try as many different dishes as I could.

After brunch, we actually burned a few calories by going for a 4.5 mile bike ride! I wasn’t planning to exercise on my day off, but my hubby and I haven’t been riding much due to the excessive heat, and when he suggested we ride in the morning while it was still cool, I couldn’t say no.

I probably burned some more calories when I spent the next several hours cleaning my house. But, then I nullified all of that by going to Mother Bear’s and gorging on pizza and garlic bread with cheese.  Hey, it was Earned Day, so I feel no guilt and I enjoyed every last bite.  Mmmmmmm, Mother Bear’s!!

But, this morning, my tummy sure didn’t feel all that great! Luckily, that didn’t last too long! I’ve also been rather thirsty all day, and since I didn’t track my water intake yesterday, I’m sure I didn’t have enough, as well as had waaaaaaaay too much salt. I still managed to get up at 4:30am so I could be in an exercise class at 6am, and I’ve been sticking to the Phase 2 menu that started today with no problems.

I’m also making today a double-exercise day. In addition to this morning’s class, I’m doing another one after work. It’s one of the suggestions in the program, though not a requirement. I know I don’t have time to exercise more than once a day on most days, but I do have that time today, and I’m so encouraged by the results of the first 2 weeks that I’m willing to give it a try.  I’ve given myself permission to take tomorrow off of exercise if I need to (if I’m too sore), also. But, if I’m not too sore, I’ll be hitting the gym in the morning.

Part of the reason is we’re going on vacation next week and I’m not sure how much exercise I’ll be able to get in. I hope to use the gym at the hotel, but I’ve said that many times before and haven’t done it. So, just in case, I’m going to get as much exercise in this week as I can.

I’m also trying to psych myself up to eat according to the Meltdown plan while on vacation as well. But, that’s a post for another day…

* My 3-bite rule was stolen from a Weight Watcher meeting many years ago. Basically, whenever I go to a buffet, I allow myself to have anything I want from it, but only 3 bites because those are the most flavorful. After that, the taste diminishes. This helps you enjoy the food more, as well as control portions.

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2011 in Health

 

It can’t be all good…

So, I noted in my last post that my experience hasn’t been completely positive…as is to be expected.

The thing I’ve found the most troublesome is I’m spending way more time than I’d like planning and prepping for the days/week ahead. I figure it would take some time planning, but didn’t expect THIS much. Last weekend when I went to the grocery, it took me about 3 hours to figure out what my meals for the upcoming week would be and then to translate that into a shopping list. However, I realize that part of it is me getting used to the program, since this an almost-completely different way from eating than I had been. And, it does feel like I’m “getting the hang of it” now, so I anticipate that it won’t take as much time in the subsequent weeks.

Regarding how I feel physically: Days 3 and 4 were especially hard. On day 3, I spent the day at Holiday World in the 95+ degree heat and sun. At the end of that day, I felt pretty crappy. I know I had been walking a heck of a lot and riding roller coasters in the sun and heat all day, but I’m pretty sure I was more than tired…I felt queasy and weak and dizzy, and I don’t usually feel that way after a day of coaster-riding. After a good night’s sleep, I felt fine on day 4. But, then after work I did class at NGPT that I found rather difficult. And, after I got home from that, I again felt queasy and weak and dizzy. I later saw on one of the ‘Meltdown Chronicles’ videos on the NGPT YouTube page that others have felt that way, and it was due to the drastic diet change. So, I think days 3 & 4 were when my body was detoxing the most, because since then, I have not felt queasy, weak, or dizzy. I just wish I would have known beforehand that the first few days would have me feeling like that. I would have waited to go to Holiday World and do such a challenging class had I known.

The only other complaint I have so far is that I am SORE! Every muscle in my body hurts and has been hurting since I started on 7/25. I was not new to exercising before doing the boot camp (I’m a casual runner and I strength trained twice a week with a partner). But, the NGPT classes have me doing new-to-me exercises in new-to-me-ways, so I’m using my muscles more and in different ways than I was used to. But, ultimately, that’s the point, right? I just hope that the soreness goes away sometime soon!

All in all, I’m pleased so far. I expected it to be harder to follow the diet than it has been, and I expected that I wouldn’t be as motivated to exercise as I have been. Thankfully, both of those expectations were wrong.

As a matter of fact, I am actually excited to get on the scale and have my measurements taken on Sunday. I’m sure I’m going to see some kind of positive result. It’s been a long time since I’ve said that! But, last night, as I was sitting on the floor playing with my kitties, I actually saw my leg muscles! Usually, when I look at my legs, all I see is fat. I know my legs are probably the strongest part of my body, since I’ve been running for a few years. And, I’ve noticed my quad muscles before when I was strength training in front of a mirror before, but usually only when I was doing some kind of move that made them stand out. Last night, I was just sitting on the floor and I could see them! I’m shocked–but happy–that after only 1 and a half weeks I’d see such progress!

(Of course, I am also looking forward to Sunday because it’s my cheat day, too LOL I can almost taste that pizza now…. 🙂 )

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2011 in Health

 

Make Progess Not Excuses!*

So, what is this Meltdown Boot Camp? In a nutshell:

As I said in my previous post, the Meltdown is program that was developed by a local physical trainer that focuses on fat loss. It incorporates an aggressive exercise plan with a nutritional plan that focuses on reducing or eliminating things like sugar, carbs, processed foods and soda by eating many small meals throughout the day that are high in protein, veggies, and “good fats”. There are also support and accountability components, as you communicate via email daily and weekly with your food and cardio coaches, respectively.

Anyone can start the Meltdown at any time. The boot camp is where they take about 50 people who want to do the Meltdown, and they have them all start at the same time. Then, for the next 8 weeks, all those people work the program together. And, it’s a bit of a competition. There are prizes given away at the end for the the most weight, inches, and body fat percentage lost.

Oh yeah, you get weighed once every 2 weeks, but are encouraged NOT to step on the scale any other time.

Basically, it’s the way that most ‘experts’ suggest you should eat, the way I’ve been trying (unsuccessfully) to eat for a few years now. But, my diet tended to include too much processed/convenience foods and sugar and most definitely not a lot of veggies. Even though I KNOW how I should eat, I wasn’t doing it. So, that’s probably the main reason why I decided to do this. I need help getting my diet to what it should be. I just can’t do it on my own. So, my hope is that over the 8 weeks I’m doing the program, my tastes and my habits when it comes to picking food will change. Is it too much to ask that when I’m craving something sweet I naturally reach for strawberries instead of a chocolate bar??

I had, however, been doing pretty well with exercise on my own, so I figured that wouldn’t be a big deal. I was already in the habit of getting up early and exercising before work. My workouts typically were running for cardio and weight lifting for strength training, with a few exercise classes thrown in here and there.

So, here I am, a week and a half into it. And, regarding my goal to eat better in the long run, I do think it’s working. I’ve really been enjoying my food. I’ve done diets that were so bland and boring that they lasted only a few days, and, honestly, that’s kind of what I expected this to be like. But, I have found myself being rather creative when I’m cooking and pretty much everything I’ve eaten since I started tasted GOOD! Last night, even my husband raved about the scallops I cooked (which were simply sauteed in olive oil, parsley, and red pepper flakes).

I’ve also found that I am NOT hungry most of the time. Can’t say that about other diets. And, if I find myself getting hungry, I look at the clock and see that it’s only a few more minutes until it’s time to eat my next small meal anyway. I never thought eating more meals would be the thing for me. But, I was wrong.

Now, the exercise…boy was I wrong! I have been SORE ever since I started this program. And, when I do work out, whether in their classes or on my own following their guidelines, I sweat more than I ever have. I’ve increased the amount of time I spend exercising each day from 30 minutes to an hour, and I’ve consistently exercised 6 days a week, when before I usually did 4. So, I’m actually glad I was wrong on that front. I needed a good kick in the butt when it came to my exercising.

Oh, I almost forgot! In the eating plan, you get cheat days and cheat meals! Once every 2 weeks (after you’ve weighed in), you can eat ANYTHING you want that whole day! And, on the weeks you don’t weigh in, you get one cheat meal that week. I have already been fantasizing about what my first cheat day will hold. And, it’s this coming Sunday, by the way LOL Honestly, I think that may be one thing that is helping me stick to the somewhat-limited food list. Knowing that I don’t have to say no to cheese or beer or chocolate or curry or any of my other favorite “bad” food permanently seems to make it easier to say yes to the veggies I used to avoid.

Don’t get me wrong, though. It hasn’t all been glitter and unicorns. I have struggled with some things. But, I think I’ve written enough for today. So, in future posts, I’ll talk about some of the negatives I’ve encountered (but, obviously, they can’t be all that bad, if I’m still doing it, right?) 🙂

*BTW, the title of this post is the mantra for this program. Ever since I started the boot camp, I’ve been wearing a bracelet with those words on it, so I’ve also made it my personal mantra for the time I’m doing this.

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

I’m melting (I hope!)

It’s been almost a year and a half since I’ve posted to this blog. D’oh!

Perhaps I was lazy. Perhaps I was busy. Perhaps I just didn’t have anything to blog about. I don’t know. But, it doesn’t matter. Because I’m back. And, I think I’ve got something to blog about now that will produce posts on a more regular basis.

(Side note: I’ve changed the template for this blog, so it looks quite a bit different, if anyone happens to remember it LOL I figure it’s kind of like a fresh start. But, all my old content is still here–not that there was much of it anyway.)

What is it I want to blog about? Well, anyone who knows me or looks through the archives of this blog will see that I’m a professional at losing (and gaining) weight. For most of my life, I have lost, gained, lost, gained, lost…you get the picture.

About a week and a half ago, I started a new effort at getting the weight off again. Over the past 10 days while focusing on this new effort, I’ve frequently thought something, then thought “I should blog about that!” So, that’s what I’m going to do.

A quick history: I’ve been overweight and/or obese for almost as long as I can remember, and I’ve been trying to lose weight (and regaining it) for almost as long as that. From 2003 – 2006, I finally saw success and lost 107 pounds by following the Weight Watchers program. I maintained that weight for about a year until I started grad school full time while still working full time. In the 2 years I was in grad school, I gained pretty much all of what I lost back. So, I began anew when I finished grad school in May, 2009. I managed to lose 40 pounds over the next 2 years on my own (no more Weight Watchers for me) by exercising and tracking my food on SparkPeople. But, over the past few months, I started gaining again. My total loss is now at 37 pounds.

I have a coworker who lost 30 pounds, and I’ve been impressed with her results. So, a couple months ago I asked her what she was doing and she told me a little about a program she was following that was developed by a local physical trainer. I did a little research on it and saw that I would have to purchase it and decided I didn’t need to spend the money and would just keep plugging away on my own.

But, I just gained and lost and gained and lost on my own. I was getting really frustrated when that coworker sent me an email inviting me to join her at a free exercise class. So, I took her up on it. I was quite impressed with the class, especially the fact that it was so full at 6am! I revisited the idea about the program she had done and decided to make the plunge.

On Monday, July 25th, I began the “Meltdown Boot Camp” at Next Generation Personal Training & Fitness in Bloomington, IN. And, that’s what you can expect my future blog posts to be about.

I know I’m not a fan of long blog posts, and this one has gotten longer than I wanted, so I’m going to stop there for today. In subsequent posts, I plan to explain a little about what the program is (but I can’t tell you too much about it, as it is copyrighted material) but mostly I think I’ll be describing my experience with and results on it.

Until next time…

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Decisions, Decisions…

Back in November I signed up to run the Indianapolis 500 Mini Marathon. The reason I did that is because I wanted to get back into the habit of cardio exercise regularly, in order to lose weight. And, having something to work toward keeps me motivated. And, I do really like to run.

So, from November through January, I concentrated on getting to the point where I could run 3 miles without having to walk. Then, I started officially training training for the Mini at the beginning of February, slowly ramping up my miles. My routine was to do two training runs during the week and a long run on the weekends.

It started out well. But, as my mileage has been increasing, I’ve begun to really struggle, and I’ve especially been dreading my longer runs, mainly because I have to devote so much time to them.

I am a very slow runner. I really can only find an hour for exercise during the week, and all I can get done in that hour is 4 miles. I should be doing 6 miles right now on my weekly training runs, and since that takes me 90 minutes, but I only have 60 minutes in the morning to spare, I’m behind. And, on the weekends, I’m having to devote 2 hours to just running.

Another problem is that when I do the longer runs on the weekends, I’m utterly exhausted afterward. I get done with the run, go home, and nap for a couple of hours, and when I get up, I’m sore and I don’t feel like doing anything. So, my entire day is shot. I’m looking at my upcoming social calendar, and pretty much all of my weekends are booked, and I honestly have no idea how I’m going to be able to devote 2+ hours to running plus the time it takes to recover from that run every weekend.

And, probably the most important thing here is that I am no longer enjoying running. I have found myself dreading having to do a training run. And, when I get done, I’m sore and tired. I don’t have that feeling of accomplishment because I still have so much farther to go to be ready, yet it doesn’t feel like I’m making progress. That’s what I miss the most…enjoying the run and the feeling afterward.

So, I’ve made a decision. I am not going to run the Mini. I’m going to concentrate in improving my pace and I will instead run the Indianapolis 500 5k, which is the same day as the Mini. This way, I’ll still get to run and I still have something to work toward to keep me motivated to keep going to the gym. But, I won’t have to devote so much time to exercise, and I hope to begin enjoying it again.

I have run a half marathon before, believe it or not. In 2006, I ran the IU Mini, which has become known as one of the hardest half-marathon courses because of all the hills. But, at the time I was training for it, I was about 70 pounds lighter than what I am now and I was in the best shape of my life. Perhaps when I get faster and won’t have to devote as much time to training, and when I’m in better shape, I’ll consider tackling a longer distance.

I do not feel like I am quitting or making any kind of concession. In fact, I know I’m saving myself in a way…because if I continued on trying to get to 13 miles in this manner, I’m sure I’d get so frustrated that I’d probably quit altogether.

And, most importantly, I am very proud of myself. I can run 3 miles without walking. There are quite a few middle-aged, overweight folks who can’t say that! 😉

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2010 in Health

 

Happy Ada Lovelace Day!

Ada Lovelace

Today is the second annual Ada Lovelace Day. For more information about who Ada was and why she has her own day, please see Finding Ada.

To help promote and celebrate the first event last year, I pledged to blog about the achievements of women in technology and science, and I fulfilled that pledge. I’m doing the same thing this year…hence this post.

Obviously, if one reviews the inconsistent posts in both my personal and professional blogs, one will see that the issue of women working in technology is one of my personal passions.  So, I’d like to take the opportunity of this post to explain why that is.

First, I am a woman, and I work in technology.  But, it wasn’t until I enrolled in grad school a few years ago that it became a passion.  I took a class on “Gender & Computing” that really opened my eyes to the inequalities that exist for women with technology…and it’s not just for those who work in technology.  There are also plenty of negative stereotypes about women using and understanding technology, much less fixing it (which I used to do) and designing it (which I currently do).

I guess that’s a good thing that it took 13 years for me to become aware of the issues.   That says a lot about my employers.  While I’ve always been in the minority at my jobs, I’ve been extremely lucky to have mostly supportive bosses. I also have to admit that I benefit from the inherent privilege of being white and middle class.  That’s why it took reading about people who were not in my situation to open my eyes to ‘the problem’.

And, now as I write this post, I find myself struggling with how to define ‘that problem’.  It’s just so huge and complex, it’s hard to give it the right words.

For one, as I mentioned before, there are negative stereotypes about women’s ability to understand and use technology.  An easy way to see this demonstrated is to go to YouTube and do a search on “Women and technology”.  The results you’ll get will mostly be videos of women misusing or struggling to use technology.  However, if you do a search on “Men and technology”, you get no such results.  Now, misogynists might argue that the reason is that only women have problems using technology. But, because of my work on a helpdesk, I know that for a fact it is not true.  I took calls from many, many men who did not understand how to use computers.  This transfers to other kinds of technology…what images does the term “women drivers” conjure in your head, yet which gender has higher insurance rates because it’s more likely to be involved in crashes?

There are many studies out there that show the number of women entering technological fields, and the number of women staying in technological fields, continue to decrease.  And, there are many theories as to why. One is that women just don’t have the aptitude that men do when it comes to things like science and math.

And, as a result, women don’t deserve to make the same salary as men.

And, there are many, many, many more, but the one that irks me the most is the stereotype that ‘women just aren’t interested in technology’.

That notion is really just way too simplified and doesn’t look at the issue deeply enough.  Yes, there are fewer female computer programmers and mechanics.  And, a lot of girls in middle and high school will tell you that they don’t have a preference for those things.  But, the question we should be asking is WHY DON’T THEY? Where does this preference (or lack thereof) come from?

An interest in technology is not a given. Boys don’t come out of the womb ready to create a character in WoW and rebuild a Corvette engine.  What humans define as ‘interesting’ is shaped by society.  It’s called ‘social constructionism‘.

Every day we see and experience things that shape who we want to become.  Sometimes it is subtle, like the fact that on the boxes of toy construction kits, there are always only boys pictured playing with them.  Sometimes it is more harsh, like the caller who laughed at me when I told him I was the third-level helpdesk technician and not a secretary.  A young boy is much more likely to be asked to help his dad repair, while the girl is much more likely to be asked to help her mom cook.

That’s where these “preferences” come from.  They aren’t caused by X or Y chromosomes; they are caused by the beliefs and actions of the society we live in.

We can’t change the chromosomes, but we can change society.  Increasing the numbers of women who work in technology is just one way. There are many other ways, I’m sure.  But, lets start small, shall we?  How about we all first agree to  not blindly accept that ‘women just aren’t technical’?

That’s why I am passionate about this issue, and I invite you to join me.



 
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Posted by on March 24, 2010 in Rant

 

I am a feminist

And, no, I do NOT hate men. I believe in equality, plain and simple.  I take the dictionary definition of Feminism quite literally:

feminism n (1895) 1 : the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes 2 : organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests — feminist n or adjfeministic adj

And, the majority of feminists will tell you the same thing. Many times, the mere mention of feminism causes eye-rolling, dismissal of one’s beliefs, and even vitriol.  I have had to defend my identity as a feminist very frequently lately, and I’m tired of it.  So, I’m going to write about it here, and in the words of CNN, “leave it right there“. 🙂

Just like with the politics and religion, there are extremists, like Mary Daly and Andrea Dworkin.  So, the term ‘feminist’ has become bastardized.

This is NOT what a true feminist looks or acts like.

Contrary to popular belief, feminism is not a war against men at all. Rather, it is a war against what we see as the root cause of women’s oppression: patriarchal gender relations.  Men are not the only ones who promote and maintain patriarchal relations, and it would be unwise to assume that all feminists think that it is only men who benefit from patriarchy. There are many women out there who are anti-feminist.

There are two reasons that the term ‘feminist’ has become such a dirty word. 1) its been hijacked by a vocal and radical minority, like Daly and Dworkin, and 2) it is in the best interest of those who wish to keep the current patriarchal gender relations to squash any movement that threatens the status quo.

Most of Christians don’t like to be associated with folks like Fred Phelps.  Most Republicans don’t like to be identified with groups like the Aryan Nation. Most Democrats don’t like to be compared to the Earth Liberation Front.  Most pro-lifers would never, ever murder an abortion doctor, as Scott Roeder did.

And, in the same vein, most feminists do not believe or behave as the extremists do. So, all I ask is that you give me, and anyone else who identifies as a feminist, the benefit of the doubt.

Don’t assume that I hate men because I want to make the same salary as my male coworker, who has the exact same experience and education as me and is currently making 10% more than I do. Don’t assume that I’m a lesbian because I don’t find advertisements that reinforce gender stereotypes appealing. Don’t assume that I think women are better than men because I don’t think your sexist joke is funny. Don’t assume that I want women to get “special treatment” because I abhor and want to get rid of our rape culture.

I am a feminist, and I am more than a stereotype.

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2010 in Rant